A physics programme that covers the inner workings of the universe from the smallest to the largest scale
Although Particle Physics and Astrophysics act on a completely different scale, they both use the laws of physics to study the universe. In this Master’s specialisation you’ll dive into these extreme worlds and unravel questions like: What did our universe look like in the earliest stages of its existence? What are the most elementary particles that the universe consists of? And how will it evolve?
If you are fascinated by the extreme densities, gravities, and magnetic fields that can be found only in space, or by the formation, evolution, and composition of astrophysical objects, you can focus on the Astrophysics branch within this specialisation. Would you rather study particle interactions and take part in the search for new particles – for example during an internship at CERN - then you can choose a programme full of High Energy Physics. And for students with a major interest in the theories and predictions underlying all experimental work, we offer an extensive programme in mathematical or theoretical physics.
Whatever direction you choose, you’ll learn to solve complex problems and think in an abstract way. This means that you’ll be highly appealing to employers in academia and business. Previous students have, for example, found jobs at Shell, ASML, Philips and space research institute SRON.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/physicsandastronomy/particle
- This Master’s specialisation provides you with a thorough background in High Energy Physics, Astrophysics, and Mathematical Physics and the interface between them.
- Apart from the mandatory programme, there’s plenty of room to adapt the programme to your specific interests.
- The programme offers the opportunity to perform theoretical or experimental research.
- During this specialisation it is possible to participate in large-scale research projects, like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN or the LOFAR telescope.
This Master’s specialisation is an excellent preparation for a career in research, either at a university, at an institute (think of ESA and CERN) or at a company. However, many of our students end up in other business or government positions as well. Whatever job you aspire, you can certainly make use of the fact that you have learned:
- Thinking in an abstract way
- Solving complex problems
- Using statistics
- Computer programming
- Giving presentations
Some of our alumni now work as:
- National project manager at EU Universe Awareness
- Actuarial trainee at Talent & Pro
- Associate Private Equity at HAL Investments
- Consultant at Accenture
- ECO Operations Manager at Ofgem
- Scientist at SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research
- Technology strategy Manager at Accenture
Other previous students have found jobs at for example:
Researchers in the field of Particle and Astrophysics develop advanced detector techniques that are often also useful for other applications. This resulted in numerous spin-off companies in for example medical equipment and detectors for industrial processes:
- Amsterdam Scientific Instruments
At Radboud University, there are typically a few PhD positions per year available in the field of Particle and Astrophysics. Many of our students attained a PhD position, not just at Radboud University, but at universities all over the world.
In the Particle and Astrophysics specialisation, you’ll discover both the largest and the smallest scales in the universe. Apart from Astrophysics and High Energy Physics, this specialisation is also aimed at the interface between them: experiments and theory related to the Big Bang, general relativity, dark matter, etc. As all relevant research departments are present at Radboud University – and closely work together – you’re free to choose any focus within this specialisation. For example:
- High energy physics
You’ll dive into particle physics and answer questions about the most fundamental building blocks of matter: leptons and quarks. The goal is to understand particle interactions and look for signs of physics beyond the standard model by confronting theoretical predictions with experimental observations.
The Astrophysics department concentrates on the physics of compact objects, such as neutron stars and black holes, and the environments in which they occur. This includes understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies. While galaxies may contain of up to a hundred billion stars, most of their mass actually appears to be in the form of unseen ‘dark matter’, whose nature remains one of the greatest mysteries of modern physics.
- Mathematical physics
Research often starts with predictions, based on mathematical models. That’s why we’ll provide you with a theoretical background, including topics such as the properties of our space-time, quantum gravity and noncommutative geometry.
- Observations and theory
The Universe is an excellent laboratory: it tells us how the physical laws work under conditions of ultra-high temperature, pressure, magnetic fields, and gravity. In this specialisation you’ll learn how to decode that information, making use of advanced telescopes and observatories. Moreover, we’ll provide you with a thorough theoretical background in particle and astrophysics. After you’ve got acquainted with both methods, you can choose to focus more on theoretical physics or experimental physics.
- Personal approach
If you’re not yet sure what focus within this specialisation would best fit your interests, you can always ask one of the teachers to help you during your Master’s. Based on the courses that you like and your research ambitions, they can provide you with advice about electives and the internship(s).
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/physicsandastronomy/particle
This MSc provides students with the skills, knowledge and research ability for a career in astrophysics. The programme is designed to satisfy the need, both nationally and internationally, for well-qualified postgraduates who will be able to respond to the challenges that arise from future developments in this field.
Students develop insights into the techniques used in current astrophysics projects, and gain in-depth experience of a particular specialised research area, through project work, as a member of a research team. The programme provides the professional skills necessary to play a meaningful role in industrial or academic life.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of a choice of six optional modules (90 credits), a research essay (30 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months, part-time two years) is offered.
Optional modules 1 (15 credits each)
Students choose four of the following:
Optional modules 2 (15 credits each)
Students choose two of the following:
Students submit a critical research essay of approximately 8,000 words and undertake an in-depth research project which culminates in a formal report and oral presentation.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical, laboratory and computer-based classes. Student performance is assessed through coursework and written examination. The research project is assessed by literature survey, oral presentation and the dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Astrophysics MSc
Astrophysics-based careers embrace a broad range of areas, for example information technology, Large Data science, engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics. Employers regard a physics degree as flexible and highly desirable university training.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Astrophysics opens up many avenues to employment through the skills acquired: problem-solving; the training of a logical and numerate mind; computation skills; modelling and material analysis; and the ability to think laterally. In addition, work vision and enthusiasm make physics graduates highly desirable members of all dynamic companies.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for this subject area.
The department's participation in many international collaborations means we provide exceptional opportunities to work as part of an international team. Examples include the Dark Energy Survey - investigating the origin of the accelerating universe and the nature of dark matter - the Hubble Telescope and the Cassini project.
In some cases, opportunities exist for students to broaden their experience by spending part of their time overseas.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Physics & Astronomy
90% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme offers a wide range of courses on the subfields of astronomy and on research methodology. Special attention will be devoted to the analysis and astrophysical interpretation of data, as well as totechnological aspects of international astronomical research.
Upon successful completion of this programme, students will have acquired:
This is an initial Master's programme and can be followed on a full-time or part-time basis.
The Master of Science in Astronomy and Astrophysics programme consists of 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System - ECTS), divided over two years. In the first year, theoretical courses provide a solid foundation for further study, while students develop their research skills by undertaking a research project. The second year includes the Master’s thesis, i.e. an extensive written report of research conducted in one of the department’s astronomy research groups.
The Institute of Astronomy conducts research on stellar astrophysics. The research performed at the institute is situated in the domain of stellar astrophysics and stellar evolution in a very broad context. Specific research themes of the institute include asteroseismology, stellar evolution and exoplanets.
A particular area of expertise is asteroseismology, the field that studies the internal structure of stars (massive stars, red giants, blue subdwarfs) through the observation and theoretical interpretation of their oscillation spectra. Early and late evolutionary phases of single and binary low-mass stars are investigated, with a particular focus on the interaction of stars with their circumstellar environments. The institute is involved in the development and exploitation of both ground-based and space-based instrumentation
The mission of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is exploring, understanding and modelling physical realities using mathematical, computational, experimental and observational techniques. Fifteen teams perform research at an international level. Publication of research results in leading journals and attracting top-level scientists are priorities for the department.
New physics and innovation in the development of new techniques are important aspects of our mission. The interaction with industry (consulting, patents...) and society (science popularisation) are additional points of interest. Furthermore, the department is responsible for teaching basic physics courses in several study programmes.
This Master's programme is strongly connected to research in astronomy and astrophysics and aims to prepare the students for research in this area.
At the end of this study the student will have acquired:
A research-oriented Master's programme in astronomy and astrophysics is essential to ensuring high-quality astronomy research. Graduates will have a competitive advantage when applying for a PhD, either locally or abroad, and the skills they acquire will also prepare them for research careers in a broad range of professional environments.
The Masters in Astrophysics gives you an understanding of the principles and methods of modern astrophysics at a level appropriate for a professional physicist.
Modes of delivery of the MSc in Astrophysics include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in lab, project and team work.
The programme draws upon a wide range of advanced Masters-level courses. You will have the flexibility to tailor your choice of optional courses and project work to a variety of specific research topics and their applications in the area of astrophysics.
Career opportunities include academic research, based in universities, research institutes, observatories and laboratory facilities; industrial research in a wide range of fields including energy and the environmental sector, IT and semiconductors, optics and lasers, materials science, telecommunications, engineering; banking and commerce; higher education.
The MSc in Astrophysics is a one-year taught programme run by the School of Physics and Astronomy. The programme is intended to provide an entry route to astrophysics research and potentially PhD programmes for students who have taken an undergraduate BSc degree in Physics, Mathematics or an equivalent cognate discipline.
The MSc consists of two semesters of taught courses including a 3.5-month significant research project and dissertation (15,000 words). Teaching methods include lectures and tutorials, covering areas of both theoretical and observational astrophysics, and modules are assessed through examination, research projects and continuous coursework.
Throughout the programme students will not only gain a full working knowledge of the fundamental aspects of astrophysics but will also develop their transferable skills such as programming, data analysis, problem solving, scientific writing, presentation and science outreach skills, enhancing employability in and out of academia.
Access to the University Observatory and James Gregory Telescope allows students receive a hands-on experience to develop their observational expertise, which can then be followed into their research projects with the option to use either facilities at St Andrews or remote observing facilities around the world.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.